22 October 2013

A Day at Rhinebeck

Saturday I headed up north (Google took me through NJ after it got confused near the GW bridge, but it was scenic that way, too) to meet one of my BFFs and her family for a day of yarny goodness at the NYS Sheep & Wool Festival, known to the knitting cognoscenti as Rhinebeck. The drive was gorgeous, but I was alone in the car and couldn't safely photograph my passing. Suffice it to say that the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the leaves were putting on a show.

But before I left, I had to decide which sweater to wear. Lots of knitter attendees create a new sweater to debut at Rhinebeck, but I didn't want to do that, since almost any new sweater of mine will also be a new design, and to have it ready to publish around Rhinebeck, I would have had to start in the spring. Maybe next year...
Which sweater will it be? #rhinebeck #gametimedecision
Rhinebeck sweater choices
Top (l to r): Sailor's Valentine, Wavelette, Mermaid's Cardigan
Bottom (l to r): An Aran for Anne, An Aran for Frederick, Bloc
Here I am getting ready to get in the car. Nick stayed back with the girls, so I could really focus on the wool fumes. Maybe next year the whole gang will be able to come up.
Getting ready to go #rhinebeck
Almost ready (with Isobel and Penelope)
The drive was smooth and uneventful, once I got over what Google Maps had done to my original plan (I have realized that reliance on technology is not helping me get used to driving around NYC; I just don't have a firm grasp on all the parkways and whatnot and how they connect). The only hitch was the last two miles to the fairgrounds, which took me half an hour to traverse. But I did get to snap a pic of the billboard as a result of the traffic.
Almost there (took 30min to go last 2mi)!
Billboard that I got to stare at for quite a while during the last half hour/two miles to the fairgrounds
I'm working on my selfies. Here is Upon the Spanish Main, which is being tested by some lovely Ravellers even as I type. Mine is in Jill Draper Makes Stuff's Splendour Sock Yarn in Glacier, which I bought at my first Rhinebeck two years ago.
At the fair
Happy to be here in my Upon the Spanish Main shawl
And the Rhinebeck sweater winner: Sailor's Valentine! I heard from friends all over with their choices, and what I loved was that there was no concensus. Maybe I should have done a fashion show throughout the day :)
Sailors valentine at #rhinebeck
Sailor's Valentine was the winner!

On the way to the Rav meetup
Walking to the Meetup
Yellow foliage
Rav meetup 1
Rav meetup 1
Rav meetup 2
Rav meetup 2
Rav meetup 3
Rav meetup 3
Mohair goat
Angora (Mohair-producing) goat
Annie's Rhinebeck sweater
Annie bananarota in her Custom Fit Jackaroo
Waiting for some lamb
Everybody wants some lamb for lunch,
but the best was the sheep's milk ricotta filled cannoli - yum!
Annie and I went the whole day without buying yarn! Some booths were just crazy, and Annie was looking for some yarn specifically for a work-appropriate cardigan, whereas I had decided to just let the whole thing wash over me and see what inspiration came. Right near the end, we headed back to Harrisville's booth, which was full of woolly goodness, though nothing quite gelled for me yet. Then we went on to Cephalopod Yarns, which had been a madhouse when we'd passed through earlier. All was quieter. Quiet enough to discover this ombre set in grey. Love! Annie found her cardi yarn here, too.
Grey ombre Traveller set from Cephalopod -
this stuff isn't even going into the stash; I'm swatching immediately!
On our way to the car we walked through Building 39, and this undyed merino glowed at me. The half-sweater sized hanks sealed the deal, and two of them came home with me. I think these are going to end up as a unicorn-inspired pullover.
Spinning Mill merino
Luscious undyed merino from the Spinning Mill
If that yarn doesn't look unicorn-y, I don't know what does.
Then we headed back to the house-without-tv with Max's BBQ in hand and listened to the Red Sox win on the radio (actually, we were so tired that we went to bed in the 6th, but they won all the same). Sunday's drive back along the Taconic was even more spectacular than the drive up.

See you again next year, Dutchess County!

16 October 2013

Countdown to Rhinebeck 2013: What to Wear?

Just three days left until the New York Sheep and Wool Festival! Lots of knitters work up a new sweater to premiere at Rhinebeck; however, since all my new sweaters are new designs still under wraps, I have to decide which of my published patterns to wear Saturday. It looks like the weather will cooperate, though it may get a little balmy (high of 68F). Hopefully it will be a little cloudy. As lovely as the sunshine is on all those colorful leaves, it starts steaming everyone in their handknits :)

So, having worn Sotherton last year (see below :), my choices seem to be Wavelette, Mermaid's Cardigan, or Bloc (the navy/tomato one) - lace for ventilation and/or knit at a looser gauge. If it ends up being quite cloudy, I would consider one of the Arans (Anne or Frederick) or Sailor's Valentine, but those are pretty substantial sweaters.
Annie and me in a pair of Sothertons at Rhinebeck 2012 (photo courtesy of Bananarota)
So, I put together a little collage to help me decide. What do you guys think?
What sweater to wear to Rhinebeck 2013?
Top: Wavelette, Mermaid's Cardigan, Bloc
Bottom: An Aran for Anne, An Aran for Frederick, Sailor's Valentine
In the end, I'll probably bring a few to choose from, so I have options :) 

Yikes! I haven't even thought about shawls. I guess it will depend a little on which sweater...

And I'll be working on some more ideas for the potential Unicorn project (what do you think of codename: PUP?) - thinking about yarn choices and such (I love finding local-ish yarns and indie dyers, so NYS&W is the place to be), as well as refining some ideas for magazine submissions. There's always more to do, isn't there?

Life has been a little stressful on the home front (problems with my ex), but I'm focusing on the good stuff, like Rhinebeck this weekend with my dear friend Annie; Nick and I going to LA next week (squeezing a five-year anniversary celebration into a work trip - can you believe we've never been on vacation alone together?), and "creating" a new knitter (private lesson for a great left-handed 3rd grader yesterday - saw her mom at school this morning who told me that she was still knitting at 9:15 last night, just as I'd warned them :)

Alright, I'm off to work on some pattern editing so that we can get some more test knits going. It's always more fun when I can share my stuff with you guys, rather than just the cats on the couch. Which should I get out of the way first: pattern grading a cardigan or translating a large lace chart to written instructions? Oh, and then there is the Pi shawl design that I knit up this summer and have to get down on pixels.

Hope to see some of you up in Duchess County this weekend. What are you going to wear?

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!
xoxo, Kathleen

04 October 2013

Jane Austen Knits 2013

Just when the birthday let-down was kicking in, along comes the new Jane Austen Knits in which I have two patterns for you! The 2013 issue is now available for preorder, and printed copies will arrive in November.

A Vest for Charles
A Vest for Charles, Jane Austen Knits 2013, photo © Christa Tippmann
Inspired by the knit-purl patterns on the vest (a henley-style pullover, really) worn by King Charles I, this button-front vest is worked all in one piece from hem to neck. Finished off with short row shaping and three-needle bindoffs at the shoulders, this one is truly seamless. I loved working with Brooklyn Tweed's Shelter again and am looking forward to making one for myself. Care to join me in a KAL?

A Vest for Charles, Jane Austen Knits 2013, photo © Christa Tippmann
Isn't the model a handsome example of an Austen man? As always the JAK staff have done a lovely job of bringing this issue together.

A Vest for Charles, Jane Austen Knits 2013, photo © Christa Tippmann

King Charles Brocade pattern above the welting, diamonds and crosses below, with seed stitch edging everywhere. I found the lovely leather buttons at Mood and got to give Swatch a scratch behind the ears.

A Vest for Charles details
Finished Size: 32 (36, 40, 44, 48, and 52)" chest circumference, buttoned. Vest shown measures 36".
Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed, Shelter (100% Wool; 140 yds/50g skein): #08 truffle hunt, 4 (5, 6, 7, 8, 9) skeins.
Needles: Size 6 (4.0 mm): 29" circular. A second needle of the same size is helpful for three-needle bindoff.
Notions: Markers; stitch holders or waste yarn; tapestry needle; 10 (11, 11, 12, 13, 14) buttons.

Who doesn't have a soft spot for the sad, romantic Captain Benwick in Persuasion? I reimagined what a naval captain's coat might look like when worn by Louisa Musgrove: braided edging and epaulets, seamless saddle-shoulder construction, and a heart on one sleeve.

Benwick, Jane Austen Knits 2013, photo © Christa Tippmann
This time I got to use String Theory's lovely Merino DK yarn. So soft yet nicely plied - a real pleasure to work with. Sometimes I love the crazy variegated colorways you find in hand-dyed yarn, but this time it was the subtle gradations that created little highlights in the cables that made me so very happy. The Cobalt colorway captures that Regency Navy and looks beautiful doing it. String Theory is extra-special for me, as they are in Blue Hill, Maine.

Benwick, Jane Austen Knits 2013, photo © Christa Tippmann
 I think I'm going to need one of these for myself, too, so let me know if you are interested in a KAL for this, too.

Benwick, Jane Austen Knits 2013,  photo © Christa Tippmann

Benwick details
Finished Size: 32 (34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44)" bust circumference, closed. Cardigan shown measures 32".
Yarn: String Theory, Merino DK (100% Superwash Wool; 240 yds/4 oz skein): cobalt, 4 (5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7) skeins.
Needles: Size 6 (4.0 mm): 29" circular. 
Notions: Markers; coil-less safety pins or removable stitch markers; stitch holders or waste yarn; tapestry needle; 7 hook-and-eyes, sewing thread to match yarn, and sewing needle.

Jane Austen Knits 2013 will arrive at your LYS in November (or in your mailbox if you preorder), but you can get the digital edition now in the Interweave shop. Having had a brief chance to flip through the digital edition, I have to say my queue is about to get a bit longer! And don't get me started on the article on Dorset buttons. I showed it to Nick and he said "Well, that's right up your alley."

Happy knitting!
xoxo, Kathleen